26 Jan Southern Star Half Nelson by Nick B
Southern Star Brewing Co.
IBUs: Not Given
Packaging: Draft, 12oz. Cans
Ok, I need to take a break from writing about stouts or porters. That is going to be tough because I love them, but I found the beer to wrestle me away from them (at least for this week): Southern Star’s Half Nelson IPA. Freshly canned and out in the market.
Right away, I love the label artwork for Half Nelson. According to Southern Star’s website, it is part of their “Art Can” series and features artwork by one of their own employees, Keith Amador. Excellent job, Keith! The label features two tattooed luchadores against a light blue background locked into battle with one of them performing a half nelson chokehold on the other. The tattoos depict various tributes to this great state or to our beloved libation. It’s probably just me, but I like to think that this is a match between characterizations of the Nelson Sauvin and Mosaic hops that make up this beer. Probably a little far-fetched, but hey, we’re allowed to have imaginations, right?
The nose on Half Nelson is like a bouquet of bright flowers and citrus fruits. I was in love with it as soon as the smell wafted into my nasal cavity. Considering Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin are typically said to give amazing tropical aromas, I don’t know why I was even surprised. If you’ve had Lone Pint’s Yellow Rose then you have an idea of the aroma of this beer since they strictly use Mosaic.
Half Nelson is light bodied with plenty of that citrus flavor I got from the aroma. The dominant flavors I get are grapefruit and orange. I also get a small amount of grape in the profile, as well as some bittering hop at the very end. I think what makes this beer so nice for me is that it’s not overpowering and the flavor doesn’t bulldog you onto the mat. The ABV could certainly take you down for the count if you let it get away from you though.
I am giving Half Nelson four stars because of the amazing aroma and flavor profile to back it up, as well as the ABV being well hidden. It really can sneak up on you and put you in a half nelson if you aren’t careful.
Have you been wrestling with yourself about whether you should give this beer a try? Let us know if it took you for a spin in the ring! Beers to you, Houston.